Koike, DP seek to cooperate in election / Aim to coordinate candidates in all Tokyo assembly districts

The Yomiuri ShimbunTokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and the Democratic Party have agreed to start talks on a planned alliance in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election scheduled to be held this summer, according to several party sources.

The governor and the party aim to coordinate their selection of candidates to run in all 42 electoral districts of the 127-seat assembly. But the talks are also expected to be difficult, as both sides have districts they cannot concede.

Koike agreed to start talks when the two sides met at the end of last year. Sumio Mabuchi, chief of the DP’s Election Campaign Committee, is expected to be responsible for coordinating with Koike’s side.

Under the envisioned alliance, both sides will try to field joint candidates in electoral districts with a few seats up for grabs. For districts with a larger number of possible seats, each side will run fewer candidates to increase their chances of winning.

The DP has already selected 36 candidates it will endorse, but has not yet chosen those for the electoral districts of Chiyoda, Chuo and Toshima wards, among others. The party is considering fielding no candidates in some districts.

During discussions, however, each side may discover differences in their stance. For the DP, which aims to win as many seats as possible with its own candidates, reducing the number of candidates it runs is undesirable. On Koike’s side, on the other hand, some believe that if the DP jointly fields candidates for seats, they should run as independents.

Koike will likely face fierce conflicts with the Liberal Democratic Party’s Tokyo chapter if she cooperates with the DP in the election. However, the governor is expected to try to maintain relationships with the government and the LDP with an eye on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

In the DP, there is wide speculation that the upcoming metropolitan assembly election will serve as a crucial test for party leader Renho because Tokyo is her political home turf. If Renho fails to play a role as the face of the party in the election, her reputation as a unifying force will inevitably suffer, making the DP more likely to continue turning to the highly popular governor.Speech

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